Worldwide cost of living survey 2005


Worldwide cost of living survey 2005

Tokyo remains the world's most expensive city, followed by Osaka, according to research by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.   

London moves down one position in the rankings to take third place, followed by Moscow which also drops a place this year. Asuncion in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the survey.  With New York as the base city scoring 100 points, Tokyo scores 134.7 and is more than three times costlier than Asuncion, which has an index of 40.3.   

Currency fluctuations

There have been some significant changes in the rankings this year which are primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations, particularly of the US dollar and Euro. Yvonne Sonsino, a partner at Mercer, said: "The challenge for multinational companies is to ensure their expatriate compensation packages remain fair and attractive enough to retain key employees, while making sure they do not pay over the odds and find themselves at a competitive disadvantage." 

Gap closing

While there has been significant investment by multinationals in traditionally low-cost countries, said Sonsino, the gap appears to be closing and local salaries are shooting up as a result of higher living expenses and an increased demand for skills.  She added: "Companies need to keep pace with the changes, and we find that many are now seeking guidance as they make regular review of their expatriate compensation packages a standard procedure."

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Title: Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2005, Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Methodology: The figures for Mercer's cost-of-living comparisons are based on a survey conducted in March 2005. The information is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. 

The survey covers 144 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Availability: Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. For further information or to purchase copies of the city reports, visit or call Mercer Global Information Services in Geneva tel: +41 22 869 3000.

Read the full press release online and download more data at

Mercer Human Resource Consulting is the "global leader for trusted HR and related financial advice, products, and services" with more than 14,000 employees, serving clients in 145 cities and 41 countries and territories worldwide.

Posted 1 July 2005